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XCVII. Then must I plunge again into the crowd, And follow all that Peace disdains to seek? Where Revel calls, and Laughter, vainly loud, False to the heart, distorts the hollow cheek, To leave the flagging spirit doubly weak; Still o'er the features, which perforce they cheer, To feign the pleasure or conceal the pique ;
Smiles form the channel of a future tear, Or raise the writhing lip with well-dissembled sneer.
XCVIII. What is the worst of woes that wait on age ? What stamps the wrinkle deeper on the brow? To view each loved one blotted from life's page, And be alone on earth, as I am now. Before the Chastener humbly let me bow, O'er hearts divided and o'er hopes destroyed : Roll on, vain days ! full reckless may ye flow,
Since T'ime hath reft whate'er my soul enjoyed, And with the ills of Eld mine earlier years alloyed.
Childe Harold's Pilgrimage.
Is thy face like thy mother's, my fair child !
Ada! sole daughter of my house and heart ?
When last I saw thy young blue eyes they smiled,
And then we parted,
-not as now we part, But with a hope.
Awaking with a start, The waters heave around me; and on high The winds lift up their voices : I depart,
Whither I know not; but the hour's gone by, When Albion's lessening shores could grieve or glad mine eye.
Once more upon the waters ! yet once more!
And the waves bound beneath me as a steed
That knows his rider. Welcome, to their roar!
Swift be their guidance, wheresoe'er it lead !
Though the strain’d mast should quiver as a reed,
And the rent canvas fluttering strew the gale,
Still must I on; for I am as a weed,
Flung from the rock, on Ocean's foam, to sail
Where'er the surge may sweep, the tempest's breath
In my youth's summer I did sing of One,
The wandering outlaw of his own dark mind;
Again I seize the theme then but begun,
And bear it with me, as the rushing wind
Bears the cloud onwards : in that Tale I find
The furrows of long thought, and dried-up tears,
Which, ebbing, leave a sterile track behind,
O’er which all heavily the journeying years
Plod the last sands of life,-where not a tlower appears.
Since my young days of passion-joy, or pain,
Perchance my heart and harp have lost a string,
And both may jar: it may be, that in vain
I would essay as I have sung to sing.
Yet though a dreary strain, to this I cling ;
So that it wean me from the weary dream
Of selfish grief or gladness—so it fling
Forgetfulness around me-it shall seem
To me, though to none else, a not ungrateful theme.
He, who grown aged in this world of woe,
In deeds, not years, piercing the depths of life,
So that no wonder waits him ; nor below
Can love, or sorrow, fame, ambition, strife,
Cut to his heart again with the keen knife
Of silent, sharp endurance : he can tell
Why thought seeks refuge in lone caves, yet rife
With airy images, and shapes which dwell
Still unimpaired, though old, in the soul's haunted cell.
Tis to create, and in creating live
A being more intense, that we endow
With form our fancy, gaining as we give
The life we image, even as I do now.
What am I? Nothing ; but not so art thou,
Soul of my thought! with whom I traverse earth,
Invisible but gazing, as I glow
Mixed with thy spirit, blended with thy birth,
And feeling still with thee in my crushed feelings' dearth.
Yet must I think less wildly :I have thought
Too long and darkly, till my brain became,
In its own eddy boiling and o‘erwrought,
A whirling gulf of phantasy and flame :
And thus, untaught in youth my heart to tame,
My springs of life were poisoned. 'Tis too late !
Yet am I changed; though still enough the same
In strength to bear what time can not abate,
And feed on bitter fruits without accusing Fate.
much of this :—but now 'tis past
oses with its silent seal.
ROLD re-appears at last;
He of the breast which fain no more would feel,
Wrung with the wounds which kill not, but ne'er heal ;
Yet Time, who changes all, had altered him
In soul and aspect as in age; years steal
Fire from the mind as vigour from the limb;
And life’s enchanted cup but sparkles near the brim.
His had been quaffed too quickly, and he found
The dregs were wormwood; but he filled again, :
And from a purer fount, on holier ground,
And deemed its spring perpetual ; but in vain !
Still round him clung invisibly a chain
Which galled for ever, fettering though unseen,
And heavy though it clanked not; worn with pain,
Which pined although it spoke not, and grew keen, Entering with every step, he took, through many a scene,
Secure in guarded coldness, he had mixed
Again in fancied safety with his kind,
And deemed his spirit now so firmly fixed
And sheathed with an invulnerable mind,
That, if no joy, no sorrow lurked behind;
And he, as one, might midst the many stand
Unheeded, searching through the crowd to find
Fit speculation ! such as in strange land
He found in wonder-works of God and Nature's hand.
But who can view the rip ed rose, nor seek
To wear it? who can curiously behold
The smoothness and the sheen of beauty's cheek,
Nor feel the heart can never all grow old ?
Who can contemplate Fame through clouds unfold
The star which rises o'er her steep, por climb ?.
Harold, once more within the vortex, rolled
On with the giddy circle, chasing Time,
Yet with a nobler aim than in his youth’s fond prime.
But soon he knew himself the most unfit
Of men to herd with Man; with whom he held
Little in common; untaught to submit
His thoughts to others, though his soul was quelled
In youth by his own thoughts; still uncompelled,
He would not yield dominion of his mind
To spirits against whom his own rebelled;
Proud though in desolation ; which could find
A life within itself, to breathe without mankind.
XIII. Where rose the mountains, there to him were friends ; Where rolled the ocean, thereon was his home; Where a blue sky, and glowing clime, extends, He had the passion and the power to roam ; The desert, forest, cavern, breaker's foam, Were unto him companionship; they spake A mutual language, clearer than the tome
Of his land's tongue, which he would oft forsake For Nature's pages glassed by sunbeams on the lake.
XIV. Like the Chaldean, he could watch the stars, Till he had peopled them with beings bright As their own beams; and earth, and earth-born jars, And human frailties, were forgotten quite: Could he have kept his spirit to that flight He had been happy; but this clay will sink Ils spark immortal, envying it the light
To which it mounts, as if to break the link
That keeps us from yon heaven which woos us to its brink.
But in Man's dwellings he became a thing
Restless and worn, and stern and wearisome,
Drooped as a wild-born falcon with clipt wing,
To whom the boundless air alone were home :
Then came his fit again, which to o’ercome,
As eagerly the barrd-up bird will beat
His breast and beak against his wiry dome
Till the blood tinge his plumage, so the heat
of his impeded soul would through his bosom eat.